About This Place
Hastings is a town and agricultural center in St. Johns County, Florida, United States, 18 miles (29 km) southwest of St. Augustine. The population was 521 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 607.
Henry Morrison Flagler built tourist hotels at St. Augustine in the late 19th century, including the Ponce de León Hotel. He needed a local source of fresh vegetables for his guests, so he persuaded Thomas Horace Hastings, his cousin, to develop a farm. A small community evolved into a town, which was named for its founder in 1890. Hastings is known as the "Potato Capital of Florida" with 21,000 acres (85 km2) of potato farms, but also produces cabbage, onions, eggplant and ornamental horticulture.
The Hastings High School was built in 1924 to provide education for the children of the farmers in the southwest corner of the county. It has since closed, and the Hastings Branch of the St. Johns County Public Library is located in this building. The only public school in the town is the Hastings Youth Academy, an Alternative school.